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35
4.7 out of 5 stars
Katy Lied
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2000
This album was strangely overlooked on first issue in the 70s, and had a look-and-feel of being a bit thrown together. Turns out the sleeve design (and notes) were supposed to mimic 50s jazz albums of Walt and Don's acquaintance, a fact that passed most of us by at the time. Whatever, the songs, shorter and slighter than a lot of the Dan catalogue nevertheless contain all their hallmark quality. "Bad Sneakers" contains their most sardonic guitar solo bar none, "Daddy Don't Live" has a nastily-infectious hook and "Doctor Wu" contains one of their most beautiful melodies. Snappy and clever lyrics are in place as usual (no 'Moons and Junes' for these guys), and the whole thing reeks of class. I've lived with it for 20 years but it still sounds fresh, and it makes great listening in the car. Turn the volume up, open the windows and give the neighbours a treat.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 4 March 2006
I bought Katy Lied over 25 years ago and was a bit disappointed. After Can't Buy a Thrill, Countdown and The Royal Scam I found it a bit dull and 'muddy'. It was the Steely Dan album I played least. It was only years later that I learned Becker and Fagen were so depressed about the sound of the album even they would never listen to it.
The remastered version is a revelation. It's like seeing an Old Master that's been restored after gathering centuries of dust and grime. The colours are suddenly vibrant and the scene full of life. The sun has been let in, making Katy Lied sound much more like the precursor of The Royal Scam.
Despite its roll call of drug dealers, gangsters, paedophiles, pimps and prostitutes, it represents some of the most beautiful music ever created, by one the most underrated partnerships in rock.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 10 August 2012
They couldn`t possibly keep it up, could they? A debut any band would kill for, an even better follow-up, a third masterpiece of a darker hue - now the intriguingly titled Katy Lied, with its murky, insectoid cover.
They`d lost the great Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, whose guitar adorned and uplifted their first trio of albums, but the main event in the Dan itinerary was always the joint talents of songwriters Walter Becker & Donald Fagen, the latter`s drawly, sardonic vocals, and their brilliant arrangements, often with hints of a jazz sensibility, all wrapped up in the catchiest of melodies, a dash of melancholy, a sprinkle or two of deceptively sun-dappled irony, as well as a jaded, impressionistic view of post-war, post-sixties America that is a cousin to the sarcasms of Randy Newman, and (I would hazard) will outlive by decades the far less musically and lyrically timeless posturings of the Velvets or the arch pomp of the Doors.
Katy Lied is closer in feel and spirit to Countdown To Ecstasy, with still an echo of the edgy sound heard on its successor, the superb Pretzel Logic. Fagen`s voice is to the fore and the songs are as memorable as ever, each of the ten songs as ear-gladdening as any pop/rock music being made back then - or any time.
This is one album that feels like a coherent whole, with no `highlights` as such, though it`s worth mentioning the marvellous Doctor Wu with its terrific alto sax solos by jazz musician Phil Woods (no stranger to more commercial waters, having had a paddle with Paul Simon and others).
Guitar duties are shared this time by Becker, Denny Dias, Rick Derringer, Larry Carlton, Hugh McCracken and others, and you`ll hear the umistakeable tenor tones of the ubiquitous Michael McDonald on backing vocals, an acquired taste if ever there was one, though he blends in here very nicely.
I`ve been re-acquainting myself with all the Dan albums recently - always a pleasure, never a chore - and realise that they are, with hindsight, up there with the elite, those impeccably fine bands who simply wrote and performed great music:
The Beatles, Lovin` Spoonful, The Band, Crowded House, Squeeze...personally, I find them far more consistent than the Beach Boys, with whom they share a certain summeriness, though the Dan are a much darker, more urban proposition. No surfing for Don or Walt, I would have thought.
I love Steely Dan. I love these musically and lyrically articulate songs. This is as good as post-sixties music gets, and that`s good enough for me.
A great band at their glorious peak.

Bad sneakers and a pina colada my friend
Stompin` on the avenue by Radio City
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2001
Somewhat oddly, if the rest of these reviews are anything to go by, this was the first Dan album I ever heard or bought. Although I can take or leave a couple of the tracks - I've never really got into either "Daddy Don't Live...." or "Everyone's Gone...." - the album is worth buying for three reasons:

1) The soaring Denny Dias guitar solo on "Your Golf Teeth II" - which is the closest thing to aural paradise ever recorded
2) Michael Omartian's piano triads right at the end of "Throw Back the Little Ones"; and
3) The all-round excellence of "Doctor Wu"

So don't be put off by the cover - just buy the album and enjoy it!

(By the way, I'm not sure that the Amazon reviewer is right to praise Donald Fagen for the piano fills. I think that Michael Ormartian played piano throughout, and that Fagen hardly touched the Bosendorfer that they had bought specially for the album sessions.)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2000
Having owned most of the Steely Dan catalogue for some years this album was a hole that I had never felt the need to fill, maybe its the odd cover thats off putting. This however ranks at the very top of the Steely Dan tree, the lyrics are just as clever as one expects but there is an easy accessability that can be missing when Becker and Fagen get too clever for their own good. From the wildly prophetic Black Friday through the catchy Bad Sneakers, the gorgeous but silly Doctor Wu, and one of my personal all time favourites in Any World. I have only one minor minor quibble, not being a fan of Michael Macdonald I find his backing vocals intrusive given his distinctive voice. If you only ever get two Steely Dan CDs make it this and Cant Buy a Thrill.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2013
This is my favourite Steely Dan album. Yes, Aja is a more polished sound but the tunes are what matters & these are fabulous from start to finish. Brilliant.
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on 30 November 2008
"Katy Lied" is one of Steely Dan's great classic albums ( OK, they all are!) from when they were still a real band, and not "just" the Becker/Fagen duo.

The Becker/Fagen aim for perfection is very much apparent here. Great production and playing. Inspired songwriting and dark thought-provoking lyrics.

Most tracks are incredible catchy and melodic; especially "Rose Darling" and "Everyone's Gone to the Movies" are likely to "hit" you the first time you here them.

The opening track "Black Friday" is a surprisingly heavy track ( for Dan!!) that sets the scene right from the very beginning.

Like always there is a great variation in rhytmths and styles, but this is never a problem because everything is done with great artistic skill.

My first version of the album had a slightly "woolen" sound, but on the 1999 re-mastered version the sound is perfect.

A 1975 Classic!
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on 3 November 2008
"Katy Lied" is one of Steely Dan's great classic albums ( OK, they all are!) from when they were still a real band, and not "just" the Becker/Fagen duo.

The Becker/Fagen aim for perfection is very much apparent here. Great production and playing. Inspired songwriting and dark thought-provoking lyrics.

Most tracks are incredible catchy and melodic; especially "Rose Darling" and "Everyone's Gone to the Movies" are likely to "hit" you the first time you here them.

The opening track "Black Friday" is a surprisingly heavy track ( for Dan!!) that sets the scene right from the very beginning.

Like always there is a great variation in rhytmths and styles, but this is never a problem because everything is done with great artistic skill.

My first version of the album had a slightly "woolen" sound, but on the 1999 re-mastered version the sound is perfect.

A 1975 Classic!
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Containing none of their most famous hits, 'Katy Lied' is nevertheless Steely Dan's most gorgeous collection of songs. There is perhaps less invention and more commercialism in the music, but this is deceptive, for the invention is in the writing. 'Bad Sneakers' features attention-grabbing twists in both music and lyrics, as does the lovely 'Doctor Wu', though, like many of the band's songs, its meaning is elusive. The opening image of suicide on the strident 'Black Friday,' by contrast, is stark. 'Everyone's Gone To The Movies' shows them in buoyant mood. One of the strokes they pull off here is the low-key sinister melody on vibes that lies beneath the jaunty main theme. 'Your Gold Teeth II' points the way toward their jazzier moments. Every track on here is a winner, right down to the emotional final track, 'Throw Back The Little Ones.'
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2004
..often dismissed as the runt of the litter by those who salivate over Aja and call that Steely Dan's Sgt. Pepper, Katy Lied was the first Dan album i heard, and to this day it's my favourite for: Black Friday, Bad Sneakers, Everyone's Gone To The Movies, Your Gold Teeth II, and especially, especially, Chain Lightning, Any World I'm Welcome To and Throw Back the Little Ones (those three, I think, are just sublime). OK it lacks the sleekness and consistency of The Royal Scam, or the stone genius of Countdown To Ecstasy. It's just my favourite, that's all.
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